Coppélia is a comic ballet originally choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon to the music of Léo Delibes, with libretto by Charles Nuitter. Nuitter's libretto and mise-en-scène was based upon two stories by ETA Hoffmann: Der Sandmann (The Sandman), and Die Puppe (The Doll). Coppélia premiered on 25 May 1870 at the Théâtre Impérial l'Opéra, with the 16-year-old Giuseppina Bozzacchi in the principal role of Swanhilde. Its first flush of success was interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War and the siege of Paris – which also led to the early death of Giuseppina Bozzacchi, on her 17th birthday – but eventually it became the most-performed ballet at the Opéra.
Modern-day productions are traditionally derived from the revivals staged by Marius Petipa for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg in the late 19th century. Petipa's choreography was documented in the Stepanov method of choreographic notation at the turn of the 20th century. These notations were later used to stage the St. Peterburg version for such companies as the Vic-Wells Ballet (precursor of today's Royal Ballet),
Ballet is a type of performance dance that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. It has since become a widespread, highly technical form of dance with its own vocabulary. It has been globally influential and has defined the foundational techniques used in many other dance genres. Ballet may also refer to a ballet dance work, which consists of the choreography and music for a ballet production. A well-known example of this is The Nutcracker, a two-act ballet that was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a music score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Stylistic variations have emerged and evolved since the Italian Renaissance. Early variations are primarily associated with geographic origin. Examples of this are Russian ballet, French ballet, and Italian ballet. Later variations include contemporary ballet and neoclassical ballet. Perhaps the most widely known and performed ballet style is late Romantic ballet (or Ballet Blanc), which is a classical style that focuses on female dancers and features pointe work, flowing and precise acrobatic movements, and often presents the female dancers in traditional, short white French tutus.